Antarctic Circle vs Antartica’s Ice Perimeter

The circumference of the Antarctic Circle is 15909 km, while one measurement of the perimeter of Antarctica’s ice is 53610 km. The numbers are different because the Antarctic Circle is circular, while the perimeter of Antarctica’s ice has a complex shape.

The circumference of the Equator is 40075 km and the 53610 km figure exceeds it. Flat-Earthers use it as “evidence” of a flat Earth. In reality, the 53610 figure is a measurement of the irregularly shaped Antarctica’s ice perimeter, not the circular Antarctic Circle.

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Anthropocentrism

Anthropocentrism is the belief that human beings are the most important entity in the universe. Real-world evidence does not support many of the anthropocentric notions.

Anthropocentrism can be very emotional. Proponents of pseudoscience —like Flat-Earthers— exploit it to emotionally discredit science. However, scientific knowledge is gained from real-world evidence, not from what we prefer to be true. Science remains true whether or not we believe in it.

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Earth Seen From the Moon vs the Moon Seen From Earth

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Earth seen from the Moon will appear 3.7× larger than the Moon seen from Earth. However, if a photograph of Earth is compared to that of the Moon, the sizes of both objects also depend on the field of view of the cameras that were used to capture them.

Flat-Earthers discovered the size of the Earth in a photograph is not 3.7× the Moon in another picture. They used the fact as “evidence” of wrongdoing. In reality, the two photos were not taken with the same field of view, and cannot be compared directly.

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Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance occurs when a person holds multiple contradictory beliefs or ideas; and is typically experienced as psychological stress when they participate in an action that goes against any of them. Flat-Earthers often experience cognitive dissonance when they are exposed to evidence that disproves a flat Earth.

If the flat-Earthers are unable to accept the reality that Earth is not flat, some will attempt to reduce the mental discomfort by expressing negative emotions, like anger or ridicule. Others would accomplish the same by restricting the source of information, like blocking or banning the third party, to allow them to retreat to their echo chambers, and suppress the uncomfortable evidence. Continue reading “Cognitive Dissonance”

Space Tourism

It is possible to fly to space as a tourist as long as we are willing to pay a lot of money. There have been seven persons who went to space and paid the trip from their own pockets.

Flat-Earthers claim if the first human spaceflight was more than half a century ago, there should be space tourism by now. In reality, there were already several cases of space tourism, even if it is still beyond the reach of most people today.

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Avoiding Challenges and Ignoring Offers of Compensation

Flat-Earthers like to dismiss evidence of spherical Earth as fake. But if we challenge them to witness it themselves, they will avoid it. They will even turn a blind eye to offers to compensate them if their claim of fake evidence is right.

It is a form of willful ignorance. Deep inside, flat-Earthers are not even sure Earth is flat, or even subconsciously understand Earth is a sphere, but they emotionally believe a flat Earth anyway. Unwilling to let go of their belief, they purposefully ignore any evidence against flat Earth.

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The Polar Azimuthal Equidistant Map is NOT the Flat Earth Map

The azimuthal equidistant map is a valid map. The map is a projection of the spherical Earth. Like every other map, it has distortions. It is not the “flat-Earth map,” and the usage of the azimuthal equidistant map does not endorse a flat Earth.

Flat-Earthers claim the shape of the polar azimuthal equidistant map as their own “flat-Earth map.” It is identical with the azimuthal equidistant map only in shape, but not in everything else. Unlike the azimuthal equidistant map, the so-called “flat-Earth map” does not represent reality.

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Sun Compass and Richard E. Byrd’s Flight Toward the North Pole

In 1926, Richard E. Byrd flew near the North Pole and used a sun compass for navigation. A regular magnetic compass is less usable near the poles because it points toward the magnetic pole, which is different from the geographic pole, and that the needle will point toward the ground due to the magnetic dip.

Flat-Earthers are too fixated on the stories about Richard E. Byrd’s compass being unusable in Antarctica and use it as “evidence” of flat Earth, as if it only happens in Antarctica. They failed to realize that the same thing also occurs near the North Pole, and Richard E. Byrd himself also prepared for it.

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Conspiracy Theory Spectrum and Demarcation Line

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Conspiracy theories — like flat Earth — exists on a spectrum, from the fringe to the mainstream.  Each of us has a different demarcation line where we divide the spectrum into the reasonable and the ridiculous.

Flat Earth lies on the extreme end of the spectrum. Anybody who believes in a flat Earth also has its demarcation line on the far extreme, too, and as a result, tends to believe all sorts of other conspiracy theories. However, less extreme conspiracy theorists might find flat Earth ridiculous. By learning how people can believe in a flat Earth, we can avoid believing other, baseless conspiracy theories.

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Ursa Minor

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Ursa Minor is a constellation in the Northern Sky. It is traditionally important for navigation because of one of its member stars, Polaris, being the north star. Ursa Minor is always visible north of the 18°N and hidden south of 18°S. Polaris is located very close to the North Celestial Pole, and only visible north of the Equator. The visibility of Ursa Minor and Polaris is only consistent if Earth is a sphere.

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Wikileaks Video Hoax

Someone created a fake video showing the “fabrication” of the Apollo moon landings. It claims to be from Wikileaks, complete with its logo, a photo of Julian Assange, and various video effects for a semblance of authenticity. In reality, the video was taken from behind the scenes clips of the movie Capricorn One.

Wikileaks’ official website does not have the video, and the video is only available from dubious sources. It is not difficult to know the video is a blatant fake. However, flat-Earthers failed to recognize it is a fake, and the fake video spread in their communities as a hoax.

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Weightlessness, Free Fall, and Microgravity

In orbit, objects are weightless because both the objects and the spacecraft have the same speed and direction, and both are affected by the same gravitational influence. We use the spacecraft as the frame of reference. Because the objects are not in motion relative to the spacecraft, they appear to float.

In Earth orbit, the objects are still affected by Earth’s gravity, but yet they float. Flat-Earthers use it to disprove spaceflight. In reality, the objects float because we are using the spacecraft as the frame of reference, which is also moving by the same amount and is affected by the same gravity as the objects themselves.

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Regress Argument and Infinite Regress

Flat-Earthers like to invoke the regress argument. They would keep asking “what is causing it?” on every statement in an attempt to turn the argument into an infinite regress. If they meet a question that gets unanswered, they would incorrectly declare the initial statement wrong.

In reality, we can know something exists even if we do not know what is causing it. Keep asking “what is causing it?” on pretty much anything will eventually give us an unanswerable question. But it does not mean we do not know it exists.

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Pareidolia

Pareidolia is the tendency for the incorrect perception of a stimulus as an object, pattern or meaning known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds, inanimate objects, or abstract patterns.

Flat-Earthers like to find shapes, patterns, or meanings in random natural phenomena, abstract figures, or figures in an unrelated context. Then, they would use them as “evidence” of some wrongdoing. In reality, it is just an effect of pareidolia, giving them false ideas. They are not evidence of anything.

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South Star

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The pole star Polaris is used to locate the position of the north celestial pole because it is a bright star that is conveniently located very close to it. However, there is no corresponding bright South Star near the south celestial pole. To locate the south celestial pole, we need to observe stars around it.

There is no South Star as useful as Polaris in the north. Flat-Earthers use it to “disprove” the existence of the south celestial pole, which cannot possibly exist if Earth were flat. In reality, the south celestial pole can be easily shown and located. There is simply no bright star near it.

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Richard Garriott’s “Pocket of Gravity” Magic Trick

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Richard Garriott is a video-game developer and entrepreneur who is also an avid magician. In October 2008, he flew to the ISS onboard a Soyuz rocket as a private astronaut. During his time on the ISS, he performed several magic tricks.

One of his magic tricks involves a hammer that floats and a card that seems to fall as if it is pulled down by gravity. Flat-Earthers were unaware it was a mere magic trick and wrongly assume it demonstrates things are falling in the ISS, despite other objects in the scene that float.

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The Impossible Eclipse

A selenelion is a rare lunar eclipse where the Sun and the Moon are both visible at the same time. An even rarer form of selenelion occurs if it is a partial lunar eclipse, and the upper part of the Moon is eclipsed. Some call this an “impossible eclipse.”

Flat-Earthers claim that such an eclipse should not be possible to occur because the Earth’s shadow is in the wrong position. In reality, it is possible to happen because the observer is looking slightly downward due to the dip of the horizon and atmospheric refraction.

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Missions to the Moon, Post-Apollo

After the Apollo moon landings, we continue launching missions to the moon, but with uncrewed spacecraft. The Apollo program was not entirely a scientific mission. It also served as a political mission due to the Cold War. We can research a lot of things about the moon without risking human lives by sending them to the moon.

Flat-Earthers claim that there have not been any missions to the moon after the Apollo missions, and they conclude that the Apollo missions were fabricated. In reality, we continue sending spacecraft to the moon to this day.

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Angular Resolution

Angular resolution is the minimum separation between distinguishable features in an image. Objects smaller than the angular resolution are indiscernible in the picture. The theoretical maximum angular resolution is determined by the diameter of the aperture of the optical instrument.

Flat-Earthers like to demand images of the lunar landers taken with a telescope as proof that the Apollo Moon landings did occur. In reality, no optical telescope on Earth is large enough to resolve the landers.

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2001 Mars Odyssey Launch Video

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Flat-Earthers often challenge us to provide a video of a rocket launch that was taken from the rocket itself, without interruption from launch to reaching space, as if it would convince them to accept that it is real and the Earth is a sphere.

The launch video of the 2001 Mars Odyssey mission easily fulfills their demand. But whether they can manage to accept the reality that Earth is a sphere is entirely another matter.

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